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张培基英译中国现代散文选--25 学问与趣味

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学问与趣味
梁实秋

 前辈的学者常以学问的趣味启迪后生,因为他们自己实在是得到了学问的趣味,故不惜现身说法,诱导后学(1),使他们也在愉快的心情之下走进学问的大门(2)。例如,瘐任公先生就说过(3):“我是个主张趣味主义(4)的人,倘若用化学化分‘梁启超’这件东西(5),把里头所含一种原素名叫‘趣味’的抽出来,只怕所剩下的仅有个零了。”任公先生注重趣味,学问甚是渊博,而并不存有任何外在的动机,只是“无所为而为” (6),故能有他那样的成就。一个人在学问上果能感觉到趣味,有时真会像是着了魔一般(7),真能废寝忘食,真能不知老之将至,苦苦钻研,锲而不舍,在学问上焉能不有收获?不过我尝想,以任公先生而论,他后期的著述如历史研究法,先秦政治思想史,以及有关墨子佛学陶渊明的作品,都可说是他的一点“趣味”在驱使着他,可是在他在年青的时候,从师受业,诵读典籍(8),那时节也全然是趣味么?作八股文,作试帖诗(9),莫非也是趣味么?我想未必。大概趣味云云,是指年长之后自动作学问之时(10)而言,在年青时候为学问打根底之际恐怕不能过分重视趣味。学问没有根底,趣味也很难滋生。任公先生的学问之所以那样的博大精深,涉笔成趣,左右逢源,不能不说的一大部分得力于他的学问根底之打得坚固。

我尝见许多年青的朋友,聪明用功,成绩优异,而语文程度不足以达意,甚至写一封信亦难得通顺,问其故则曰其兴趣不在语文方面。又有一些位,执笔为文,斐可诵,而视数理科如仇讐,勉强才能及格,问其故则亦曰其兴趣不在数理方面,而且他们觉得某些科目没有趣味,便撇在一旁视如敝屣(11),怡然自得,振振有词,略无愧色,好像这就是发扬趣味主义。殊不知天下没有没有趣味的学问(12),端视吾人如何发掘其趣味,如果在良师指导之下按部就班的循序而进,一步一步的发现新天地,当然乐在其中,如果浅尝辄止,甚至躐等躁进,当然味同嚼蜡,自讨没趣。一个有中上天资的人,对于普通的基本的文理科目,都同样的有学习的能力,绝不会本能的长于此而拙于彼。只有懒惰与任性,才能使一个人自甘暴弃的在“趣味”的掩护之下败退(13)。

由小学到中学,所修习的无非是一些普通的基本知识。就是大学四年,所授课业也还是相当粗浅的学识。世人常称大学为“最高学府”,这名称易滋误解,好像过此以上即无学问可言。大学的研究所才是初步研究学问的所在,在这里作学问也只能算是粗涉藩篱,注重的是研究学问的方法与实习。学无止境,一生的时间都嫌太短(14),所以古人皓首穷经,头发白了还是在继续研究,不过在这样的研究中确是有浓厚的趣味。

在初学的阶段,由小学至大学,我们与其倡言趣味,不如偏重纪律。一个合理编列的课程表,犹如一个营养均衡的食谱,里面各个项目都是有益而必需的,不可偏废,不可再有选择。所谓选修科目,也只是在某一项目范围内略有拣选余地而已。一个受过良好教育的人,犹如一个科班出身的戏剧演员,在坐科的时候他是要服从严格纪律的,唱工作工武把子都要认真学习,各种脚色的戏都要完全谙通,学成之后才能各按其趣味而单独发展其所长。学问要有根底,根底要打平正坚实,以后永远受用。初学阶段的科目之最重要的莫过于语文与数学。语文是阅读达意的工具,国文不能便很难表达自己,外国文不能便很难吸取外来的新知。数学是思想条理之最好的训练。其他科目也各有各的用处,其重要性很难强分轩轾,例如体育,从另一方面看也是重要得无以复加。总之,我们在求学时代,应该暂且把趣味放在一旁,耐着性子接受教育的纪律,把自己锻炼成为坚实的材料。学问的趣味,留在将来慢慢享受一点也不迟。


Learning and Personal Inclination
Liang Shiqiu

Scholars of the older generation often urge young people to develop interest in learning because they themselves have been enjoying the real pleasure of academic studies. And they are ever ready to cite their own example by way of advice, in hopes of enabling young people to gain access to scholarship in an enjoyable way. For example, the distinguished scholar Liang Qichao once said wittily, “I always stand for interest-ism. If you broke down Liang Qichao’s stuff into its component parts, there would be nothing left except an element named ‘interest’. " Mr. Liang was a man of profound learning who attached much importance to interest. He attained great academic success because he pursued scholarly study solely for its own sake, without any ulterior motive. A man who is really interested in learning sometimes does act like one possessed. He forgets his approaching old age and works hard even to the neglect of his meals and sleep. Isn’t it but natural for a man of such devotion to have great scholarly achievements? But, though Mr. Liang’s later works, such as those on method of historical studies, political and ideological history of the pre-Qin days, as well as those on Mohism, Buddhism and Tao Yuanming, were motivated by his personal inclination, can the same be said of his younger days when he was a pupil chanting ancient Chinese books under a private tutor? Was he motivated by his personal inclination while learning to write stereotyped essays and poems prescribed for the imperials civil service examinations? No, I think not. Generally speaking, the so-called interest begins to exist only when one is mature enough to engage in independent studies. It is improper, I am afraid, for young people to overstress the importance of interest while they are still in the period of learning the basics of knowledge. Interest will never develop where no solid foundation has been laid for learning. There is no denying the fact that Mr. Liang owed his wide erudition and unusual literary talent, for the most part, to his good grasp of foundation knowledge.

I have come across a great many bright and diligent young friends who have done exceedingly well in their studies, but are rather weak in Chinese. They cannot even write a letter in correct Chinese. When I asked them why, they said they were not interested in the Chinese language. Some, though they can write beautifully, detest the study of mathematics and physics, and barely managed to pass the examinations in them. When I asked them why, they said they were not interested in them. They cast away whatever subjects they dislike like something utterly worthless. They are so smug and thick-skinned that they speak volubly in defence of their own attitude like champions of interest-ism. They hardly realize that there is no learning but is capable of engendering interest and that all depends on how to search for it. You will develop a liking for learning if, under the guidance of a good teacher, you study to discover new horizons opening up before you one after another by following the proper order and advancing step by step. On the other hand, you will find learning as dry as sawdust and feel frustrated if you refuse to go into a subject in depth or even make impetuous advances without following the proper order. People with an average natural gift are equally capable of mastering the basics of liberal arts and natural science. They are never predetermined by nature to be good in one subject and poor in another. It is laziness and waywardness, however, that causes one to give himself up as hopeless and back down on the pretext of “no interest”.

Primary and secondary school will impart to you only some rudiments of knowledge. Even what you learn during the four years of university will be something quite superficial too. A university has often been misleadingly referred to as “the highest seat of learning”, which sounds as if there were no more learning to speak of beyond it. The research institute of a university, however, is the place for preliminary scholarship. But even there you get only the first taste of learning and the emphasis is on research methodology and practice. Art is long, life is short. That is why some of our ancients continued to study even when they were hoaryheaded. They were, of course, motivated by an enormous interest in their studies.

During the preliminary stage of learning, from primary school to college, it is better to advocate discipline than interest. A properly arranged school curriculum, like a cookbook on nutritionally well-balanced food, must include all useful and indispensable courses — courses which are equally important and obligatory. The so-called electives mean only some little option within the scope of a certain item. A well-educated person is like a professionally trained Peking opera singer. While undergoing the training, he must observe a most exact discipline. He must pay equal attention to singing, acting and acrobatic skills, and learn to play different roles. It is not until he has finished the all-round training that he begins to develop his own speciality according to his personal disposition. Laying a solid foundation for learning will be of great lifelong benefit to you. Of all the school subjects during the preliminary stage of learning, languages and mathematics are the most important. Languages serve as a tool for reading and communication. Without a good knowledge of Chinese, you will find it difficult to express yourself. Without a good knowledge of a foreign language, you will find it difficult to absorb new knowledge from abroad. Mathematics makes for logical thinking. Other subjects also have their respective uses. It is hard to say which is more important. Physical education, for example, is also extremely important from another point of view. In short, while in school, we should temporarily put aside our personal liking and patiently observe school discipline so that we may temper ourselves and become solid stuff. Don’t hurry – there will be a time for you to find relish in learning in the days to come.

注释见下页

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2011-11-10 18:03 编辑:Day_Day_Up1990
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